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Onion Soup Emilia-Romagna Style

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Why I Love This Recipe

This rich dish, almost more stew than soup, makes for a restorative lunch on a chilly autumn day. Italians use cipollotte, red onions, with the green stalks still fresh and soft, which add a fragrant bite. If you can find them at the farmers market in the fall, you should use them too. The eggs stirred in at the end reflect the Emilian love of rich, farm-fresh intensity; you can omit them if you want and just add the cheese for a lighter version.

Ingredients You'll Need

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons lard or fatback
12 red or white bulb onions, halved and sliced into thin half-moons
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup milk
6 cups Chicken Stock (page 125)
3 large eggs
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 slices Tuscan or other country bread
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Chicken Stock:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Bones, wings, and scraps from 3 whole chickens, excess fat removed
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 onions, coarsely chopped
4 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
4 quarts water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 bunch parsley stems



1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the chicken parts and brown all over, turning frequently. Transfer the chicken parts to a platter and reserve.

2. Add the carrots, onions, and celery and cook until softened and browned, about 10 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot and add the water, tomato paste, peppercorns, and parsley, and stir to dislodge the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook at a low simmer for 2 hours, or until reduced by half, occasionally skimming the fat.

3. Remove from the heat and strain into a large bowl, pressing on the solids with the bottom of a ladle to extract all the liquid. Let cool, stirring occasionally. Cover and refrigerate.

Makes about 8 cups

© 2005 Mario Batali from Molto Italiano

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